''Jodhaa...'controversy frivolous litigation affecting creativity'

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (UNI) As the period film 'Jodhaa Akbar' gets mired into controversy with a Rajput organisation calling for its ban alleging distortion of historical facts, trade analysts see it as a case of frivolous objections and litigations stalling a film's release in India.

Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, who also directed the Oscar-nominated 'Lagaan', 'Jodhaa Akbar', based on a love story between Mughal Emperor Akbar and his beautiful Queen Jodhabai, is in the throes of controversy just a week ahead of its worldwide release, with the the Rajput Karni Sena calling for a ban on the film across the country for its distortion of history.

In a series of press statements issued in various parts of the country over the last week, the Rajput Karni Sena threatened not to allow the screening of 'Jodhaa Akbar' in India, especially in theatres in Rajasthan.

''Jodhaa Akbar is an example of a film distorting historical facts under the garb of magnificent production values and elaborate sets.

''Showing Akbar and Jodhabai as husband and wife, when in reality Jodhabai was the wife of Akbar's son Jahangir, not only constitutes a careless tampering with history by filmmaker Ashutosh Gowarikar but also a gross violation of Indian traditions and social values,'' chief patron of the Rajput Karni Sena Lokendra Singh Kalvi said.

Calling for an unconditional apology from the filmmaker, Kalvi demanded that the Censor Board ban the film for its distortion of history.

Kalvi said he had met Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and demanded that 'Jodhaa Akbar' be banned for its tampering of historical facts.

Further, he said the distributor of the film in Rajasthan had decided not to release the film in the theatres in the state keeping in view the hurt that it has caused to the sentiments of people in the state.

''The film will not release in Rajasthan theatres. Further, we have urged the exhibitors of the nearly 4000 theatres across the country, which are to screen the film, not screen it,''Kalvi added.

Infact, Kalvi said the Rajput Sena had sent flowers to the distributors of the film in various areas to urge them not to release the film as it distorts Indian history.

Trade analysts, however, see the Rajput Sena threat to stall the release of 'Jodhaa Akbar' as a dangerous trend, whereby any small organisation or individual can succeed in stalling the release of what is for the filmmakers a ''labour of love'' by simply obtaining an injunction from a court.

The maker of pathbreaking films like 'Baghban' and 'Babul' Ravi Chopra said, ''Such frivolous protests are thoroughly condemnable.

I feel that once a film has been cleared by the Censor Board and given a Censor Certificate, stalling the release of a film under pressure from what are clearly vested interests is a deplorable trend and needs to be checked.'' Analysts in the film trade as well as those in film circles, feel that the ''unnecessary controversy'' generated around the film by the Rajpur Karni Sena is another example of organisations with vested interests trying to stall the release of the film by approaching courts or the Censor Board or pressurising distributors not to release the film in their respective territories.

In this regard, trade analysts point out that there are apparently various incidents wherein people have approached courts as little as one day before the theatrical release of a film and sought an order injuncting its release on frivolous grounds.

Though courts have been found to have exercised caution in some instances and allowed the producer to make a representation before them, there are also various instances where injunctions appear to have been granted to parties purely based on speculative or frivolous claims by such parties.


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